The idea of a sports complex has existed for about 30 years | Features
In 1974 Peter Allen sang “Everything Old Is New Again”.
And the indoor sports complex the city is talking about certainly fits that description.
What they’re talking about is an 88,000 square foot facility, with five to six large indoor sports fields and a large field with synthetic turf, party rooms, concessions and administrative offices.
Such a facility, they say, would cost between $16 million and $17 million to build and have an annual maintenance cost of $307,000, he said.
Of course, these days with runaway inflation and supply chain issues, it’s better to rely on more than that.
The idea is to bring more sports tournaments to town and create more tourist activities.
They predict that such a facility would generate approximately
$1.3 million per year in hotel room rentals and $3.1 million per year in other sales, if the facility was booked for tournaments 50% of the weekends.
It’s a good idea — if we can afford it.
But the idea has been around for over 30 years – and never seems to come to fruition.
In 1990, then-mayor Dave Adkisson proposed the construction of a natatorium – swimming pool – next to a renovated sports centre.
The price would have been around $3-4 million just for the pool.
In 2001, the community began a similar study.
Ideas then included a $9.75 million recreation complex featuring a walking track, indoor soccer, and a skating rink that could be converted to rollerblades in the spring and summer; a $5 million family water park with slides and moving water, and an outdoor soccer complex with at least 10 courts.
In 2003, 45 Owensboro leaders visited three recreation complexes in the St. Louis area for ideas for a “rec-plex” here.
A study was commissioned, but nothing ever happened – largely because the cost had risen from $18 million to $20 million.
However, the $6 million Edge Ice Center was built as a result of this effort.
Eventually, the rec-plex idea was dropped when planning for the Owensboro Convention Center began.
Last year, the city, county and Owensboro Health announced they would contribute $600,000 to create an indoor sports facility inside the convention center, making it available for basketball, volleyball and futsal.
This move is already attracting tournaments to the city.
The thing is, we’ve been talking about a large indoor sports complex for three decades.
If we have to do it, let’s do it.
If not, let’s stop talking about it.